Two days after he lost out on a Rajya Sabha nomination on Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket to actor Jaya Bachchan, now-retiring MP from the Upper House, Naresh Agarwal, joined the BJP but not before he sparked controversy with his comments on Ms. Bachchan. "He is welcome. However, his comments regarding Jaya Bachhan ji are improper and unacceptable", the external affairs minister tweeted.
The SP has six Rajya Sabha MPs - Kiranmayee Nanda, Darshan Singh Yadav, Naresh Agarwal, Jaya Bachchan, Munawwar Saleem and Alok Tiwari - who are retiring. Instead the party made a decision to re-nominate Ms Bachchan who also retires on April 2.
He joined the BJP at a press conference in New Delhi in the presence of Railways Minister Piyush Goyal. I did not find it proper.
Agarwal's term in the upper house ends shortly and he had protested Bachchan's nomination. The faction was reportedly against nominating Agarwal as he had allegedly "colluded" with the BJP.
"I have been reduced to somebody working in films". Party sources said Aggarwal's attack on Jaya Bachchan was an indication that her re-election was not safe anymore. Mr Agarwal joining the BJP has also upset a majority of the party's Uttar Pradesh unit.
Agrawal also said his son and SP MLA in UP, Nitin, would vote in favour of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha elections. The number of seats a party wins in the Rajya Sabha elections is dependent on the strength of its members - who form the electoral college - in the state Assembly.
Referring to Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Ram Gopal Yadav, Agrawal said he will continue to respect them for the regard they had given him.
He expressed his admiration for prime minister Narendra Modi and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
He has often changed parties in the last over 30 years of his political career.
In 1997, he formed Akhil Bhartiya Loktantrik Congress Party along with Jagdambika Pal, Rajeev Shukla and Shyam Sunder Sharma. But the party sprang a surprise on Monday by announcing three more candidates in all and left the joint opposition bewildered.